Chicago Teachers are Already Overpaid


chicago teachers strikeThe Chicago Teachers Union has collectively decided that a sixteen percent pay raise in an economy where 23 million people are looking for work isn’t enough. Public school teachers in Chicago are currently among the highest paid in the nation, with an average annual pay of $71,000, before benefits.

Seriously -- Chicago teachers walked away from a sixteen percent pay raise, because it wasn’t enough. Sixteen percent!

At the same time, Chicago public school students are among the most undereducated in the country. Which leads to the question: What are these teachers being paid for? This week, apparently they’re being paid to shop for red shirts and to not teach. 

The teachers just want things to be fair. I’m not sure how ignoring your students to strike in the street to protest a measly sixteen percent pay raise while not improving your job performance is fair, but whatever.

Karen Lewis, the president of the union, has called Mayor Rahm Emanuel a bully and a liar for calling for accountability for the teachers and a 41-minute longer school day. As many as 6,000 teachers may lose their jobs if they are evaluated based on performance, which is apparently a bad thing in Chicago. In the real world, you get fired if you do a crappy job, but in Illinois you go on strike because your raise wasn’t big enough.

The Chicago Teachers Union is giving great teachers a bad name. No one goes into teaching for the money … it’s a difficult, time-consuming, mostly underappreciated job. The hope is that teachers go into teaching because they love kids and want to help shape their future. Not so they can protest a massive pay raise in a down economy as not enough.

Maybe it would be different if Chicago schools were flourishing. You get what you pay for, and all that jazz. If they teachers were being underpaid, that would be another matter as well. That was the original intention of unions, after all, to make sure that the working class was not being oppressed or taken advantage of. But Chicago teachers make over twice the average local income of just over $30,000 a year.

Chicago teachers are already overpaid, Chicago students are underperforming, and the Chicago Teachers Union’s demands are unreasonable. This is not about the students and what’s best for them, this is about a teachers’ union demanding more than its fair share.


Image via firedoglakedotcom/Wikimedia Commons

economy, education, in the news, media, politics


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woode... woodentorn

Its become apparent that many people don't know what a median salary is. They do not start off at 70K. No teacher, no matter what degrees and specializations they hold starts off that high. I have  a friend who works in CPS that started off at  33, 000. I'm pretty darn certain she doesn't think she's overpaid.

bills... billsfan1104

Wood, she didnt say they started off with that much salary, she said it was an average pay and that is before benefits.  And if the average pay is that much, and the kids are not being taught, why are they getting paid that much and why do they still have jobs?

NatAndCo NatAndCo

II know some people where i live that make about as much as that 17% raise. No benefits, no insurance. They could strike... But then they'd just be fired.

PonyC... PonyChaser

Why won't anyone acknowledge that this $71K (or Wooden's $33K) salary is for NINE MONTHS of work... not for a year's worth of work?? (yes, the pay is pro-rated for the year) The $71K salary averages out to nearly $6K per month. The $33K salary - $2750/month.

I'm sorry, I don't care WHERE you live, that's a wicked salary (yeah, even the $33K is a pretty decent paycheck). And if it's THAT hard to make ends meet - when on top of that salary, they're getting full health benefits PLUS 3 months off.... perhaps they need to budget better.


Em Chappell-Root

MEAN, MEDIAN, MODE, and RANGE! These the things I want to Know! Are they including over priced Administrators in their figures? Why does no one list these things! There are THREE different kinds of average, and they matter. And you can thank my SC public school educators that I know the difference and the importance!



nonmember avatar Ashley

It's not just,or even mostly, about salary in Chicago. From what has been talked about on bost sides, the issue of compensation has more or less been agreed to by both sides.(Though I would echo what others have said about knowing the average salary not really telling you much of anything). These teachers are striking because facilities are bad, schools are falling apart, and, yes, because of HOW they would be evaluated as educators. Anyone who has done any type of work in education knows that an evaluation system based primarily on standardized test scores would not necessarily be the most effective (or fair) way of doing things. I'm all for firing teachers who aren't performing as they should be...but you shouldn't be able to fire someone based primarily on one metric.

nonmember avatar Typical

I figured Jenny wrote this before I even clicked. Mitt Romney deserves his money, but the people who educate our children don't... That's not backwards at allllllll.

paren... parentalrights1

An article that isn't completely stupid.

Keep it up

Guest27 Guest27

This strike is not all about pay!! The teachers are striking because they do not agree with things their gvt wants to implement in their contract such as change in health benefits, and teacher evaluations. It's not that they don't agree with having the evaluations, it's that they will be evaluated unfairly. They will be evaluated on their students standardized test scores which don't factor in outside influence such as poverty, homelessness or violence. All of these external things could effect a students score. In the news articles I've read they don't claim that the Chicago teachers are just wanting more money which this article seems to be focusing on.

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